Tom Baxter, Strathclyde University: Recent press coverage of BP’s partnership with Aberdeen, where BP will become the planning and technical adviser on the “net zero vision” for Aberdeen 2045, together with the AREG chairwomen’s EV article on ‘A hydrogen future on the horizon’, raised concerns in my mind relating to over-selling hydrogen. Aberdeen’s commitment to a net zero future is to to be applauded but I’m of the opinion that the hydrogen push has to be questioned on technical and economic grounds. Much is made of the city’s hydrogen bus initiative. The low carbon alternative to the hydrogen bus would be the battery bus. The hydrogen bus fleet in Aberdeen uses electrolysers to generate hydrogen. Electrolysis combined with a hydrogen fuel cell is, give or take, half as power efficient as a battery, so hydrogen will cost twice as much for each km travelled. Furthermore, the electrolysis facility will require a wind farm double the size of that required by a battery. Not true say the hydrogen proponents; a battery bus will be heavier because of range limitations. Range requires a heavier battery reducing the operational efficiency of the battery bus. That is true but why do you need a long range for an urban bus? Inner city Aberdeen bus routes are less than 20 – 30 km and depot charging facilities could be supported by supplementary charging at the start and end points of the city routes. An urban bus does not require a high range battery. Furthermore, battery power densities are continually improving which only reinforces the case for me that battery buses will inevitably be the better cost option for the Aberdeen commuter. Coventry recently came to that conclusion and has ordered a fleet of double decker battery buses. Aberdeen also seems set to trial the use of hydrogen for domestic heating. Using hydrogen for domestic heating is very inefficient compared to heating households using heat pumps. A domestic heat pump will use on average 3 -4 times less energy than hydrogen. On that basis hydrogen for heating does not stack up. Again not true say the hydrogen proponents; hydrogen can be readily deployed cost effectively through the existing gas distribution system. When the energy production (four times larger for hydrogen than heat pumps), electrolyser or reformer with CCS, hydrogen compression, treatment, storage, distribution and boiler conversion costs are combined, I fail to see how hydrogen for domestic heating can have a life cycle cost better than a heat pump. The UK needs low carbon hydrogen for its use a chemical precursor for production of fertilisers and other very useful chemicals. That is where our low carbon hydrogen focus should be.
Energy Voice 16th Sept 2020 read more »
ScottishPower Renewables has teamed up with hydrogen tech firms ITM power and BOC to develop a green hydrogen supply chain in Scotland, starting with the commercialisation of a Glasgow-based production plant within the next two years, they announced yesterday. Dubbed Green Hydrogen for Scotland, the partnership aims to develop a market proposition for green hydrogen as a zero emission fuel for heavy transport such as trucks, buses, ships and trains, with plans to develop a raft of production facilities and refuelling stations for the gas north of the border.
Business Green 17th Sept 2020 read more »
Emissions from buses, bin lorries and gritters could be dramatically reduced in Scotland under plans to build a network of hydrogen stations. The first plant will be built on the outskirts of Glasgow near Whitelee wind farm with hopes of it being in operation within two years. Other locations are being examined by a consortium called Green Hydrogen for Scotland, which comprises Scottish Power Renewables, the gas provider BOC and the energy storage specialist ITM Power. Wind or solar energy provided by Scottish Power would be used to make the hydrogen fuel. This is typically produced by electrolysis, where hydrogen is extracted from water. Powering the process with renewable sources means there are no emissions in the creation of the fuel. BOC will operate the proposed Glasgow facility while ITM Power will build the electrolyser to be used on the site. BOC runs Europe’s largest hydrogen production and refuelling site in Aberdeen. Mark Griffin, the market development manager for clean fuels at BOC, said the consortium was keen to develop more projects in conjunction with local authorities around Scotland. Fife council has been using hydrogen dual-fuel bin lorries since 2017 and some buses in Aberdeen are powered by hydrogen.
Times 17th Sept 2020 read more »
Glasgow’s buses to go green in new clean hydrogen fuel project. A project with the power to fuel more than 51,000 buses a year on clean hydrogen is set to go ahead within the next six months following the formation of a new green energy partnership. The renewables arm of ScottishPower has joined forces with BOC and ITM Power to launch the Green Hydrogen for Scotland partnership offering an “end-to-end” market solution for powering larger vehicles not suited for electric vehicle (EV) technologies. Its first project, Green Hydrogen for Glasgow, will see the construction of a new production facility near Whitelee Windfarm, where ScottishPower will add an extra 35MW to the current 539MW of capacity.
Herald 17th Sept 2020 read more »